Jacob Riis & the New Immigrants
Jacob Riis & the New Immigrants
Jacob Riis & the New Immigrants
Jacob Riis & the New Immigrants
Jacob Riis & the New Immigrants

Jacob Riis & the New Immigrants

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How the Other Half Lived: Jacob Riis, Urbanization, and Immigration
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New Immigrants Lesson Plan

Students dive deep into the lives of immigrants in New York’s worst slums through Riis’ photography and to understand the struggles of immigrants and the problems of urbanization and realize the importance of shedding light on contemporary social ills. 

Lesson Overview

Students dive deep into the lives of immigrants in New York’s worst slums through Riis’ photography and to understand the struggles of immigrants and the problems of urbanization and realize the importance of shedding light on contemporary social ills. Students explore the push and pull factors that brought millions of immigrants to America’s shores, the allure of the city, and the terrible consequences of rapid urbanization.  Learning the awesome story of how Riis struggled at first just to survive in NYC and then to bring attention to the plight of millions suffering in the darkness, students understand the historical factors that ushered in the Progressive Era.

What Students Do

Students complete a mini-DBQ (Document Based Question) with 3 sources: a photograph, diagram, and short text. They answer short guiding questions to check for understanding before writing a brief essay using the documents.

Skill Development: Research, analyzing primary sources, and essay writing.